I walk down the street. The sun has stopped smiling long ago. A car whizzes by. I pass it without a second look. It passes me without a look at all.
Stomach grumbling, I duck into a convenience store. I linger in the store, eyes closed shut from the cold. The cashiers are alert but their eyes are directed elsewhere, downward in trajectory.
I make it to my friend’s house, feeling the warmth of the lobby blast into my pores. I’m free at last from the frigid night air. Hopping onto the elevator, I see a stranger. We exchange polite smiles. She’s relaxed. The only thing I can think about is the beauty of the warmth.
White privilege. The idea of it initially stung me. Because I’m white I have some sort of advantage? I didn’t ask for this gain. Yet that’s no excuse to ignore the benefits of being a (Privileged) White Male:
I walk down streets alone without cops even glancing at me.
I enter stores and the cashiers aren’t suspicious of me.
I share confined spaces with others and they aren’t scared to interact with me.
At this moment in my life I am at the beginning of what I know will be a never ending journey to discover how my race, class, sex, and sexuality define my position in society. While many of you have been forced to contemplate these issues long before me for reasons I will never truly comprehend, I urge you to continue to do so. Invite white males in this conversation too, because without inclusive, intelligent discussion we will continue to wallow in a system of injustices.
Some of us will have to step down from the high platforms we have been on for far too long so that we can all stand together to see each other, and the horizon, on the same ground.
Thanks for the opportunity to share,
Montgomery County, MD